The National Palliative Care Research Center

Curing suffering through palliative care research.


Leah V. Estrada PhD, RN


Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Grant Year
Grant Term
2 years
Grant Type
Kornfeld Scholars Program

Project Description
Identifying Subcultural Palliative Care Needs for Latino Patients with Advanced Dementia and their Caregivers

I am a bilingual, bicultural Latina nurse scientist committed to a career as a palliative care researcher. My work has been funded by the National Institute of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and I have fourteen publications. My career goal is to improve delivery of palliative care for the heterogenous Latino community with dementia. The Latino community is comprised of individuals from 20 countries, with different languages and cultures. From 2012 to 2060, the number of Latino persons with dementia (PWD) in the United States is expected to increase by 832 percent to 3.5 million. There is a need to understand the needs among Latino PWD caregivers to provide culture centered palliative care. My specific aims are to: 1) explore Latino family caregiver subcultural perspectives regarding dementia and palliative care and 2) explore key stakeholder perspectives on how Latino subculture influences palliative care delivery to Latino PWD and their caregivers. Aim 1 will be achieved through qualitative interviews with Latino PWD caregivers. Aim 2 will be conducted with focus groups and individual qualitative interviews with community stakeholders. This study will bring together a team of experts in qualitative methods, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and palliative care in geriatric populations to mentor me in these areas. Together with my mentorship team, we have developed a career development program focused on: 1) qualitative research, 2) stakeholder-engagement and CBPR, and 3) palliative care in geriatric populations. Understanding Latino subcultural differences can enhance our understanding of how to best address the palliative care needs for this diverse and growing population. This award will provide me the necessary mentorship, time, and resources to develop and conduct pilot research necessary to submit a K23 award to ultimately improve the care of Latino patients with dementia.

Leah V. Estrada, PhD, RN, is an Instructor in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a Nurse Scientist in the Center for Nursing Research and Innovation at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Estrada's program of research focuses on addressing the diverse palliative care needs for Latino persons with dementia and  their caregivers, with the goal of achieving health equity. Her prior work explored racial and ethnic disparities in nursing home palliative care services and potentially avoidable hospitalizations among residents with severe cognitive impairment using Medicare datasets. Dr. Estrada received her PhD from Columbia University, MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, BSN from the Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico and BA from Boston University.